Research shows that there is a significant return on investment made in the education sector. The national budget allocation for the sector, however, remains insufficient. In the pre-primary level, every 1 taka spent leads to a return of 19 taka. This was the primary focus of the seminar ‘Bangladesh education policy priorities’, held on 4 January 2017 at BRAC Centre.
BRAC, together with the international research institute, Copenhagen Consensus Center organised the event to discuss the strategies recommended for realising the Vision 2021 of the Bangladesh government. The minister for primary and mass education, advocate Mustafizur Rahman attended as the chief guest, while the additional secretary of the Ministry of Education, Chowdhury Mufad Ahmed was present as the special guest.
The programme was chaired by the director of BRAC’s education programme, Dr Safiqul Islam. KAM Morshed, director of BRAC’s advocacy for social change, moderated the first session. The keynote speakers at the event were Dr Atonu Rabbani, associate professor, Department of Economics, University of Dhaka; Dr Ahsanuzzaman, assistant professor, Department of Economics, North South University; and Dr S M Hafizur Rahman, professor, Institute of Education and Research, University of Dhaka. Mr Hasnuzzaman Zaman, outreach manager of Copenhagen Consensus Center made the opening statement.
The chief guest, advocate Mustafizur Rahman said, “Bangladesh will prioritise psychosocial stimulation for children and secondary education for girls.”
UNICEF representative, Edouard Beigbbeder said, “I hope the interventions discussed will be taken by the government and we can consider for implementation.”
The second session of the seminar was moderated by Gawher Nayeem Wahra, director of BRAC’s disaster management and climate change programme.
Some of the major challenges raised include the lack of quality education, high dropout rates in secondary schools, not evaluating students based on proper merits, high teacher to student ratio, and lack of accountability of teachers.
Talat Mahmud, director of education, Save the Children, Dr SM Hafisur Rahman, professor at Institute of Education and Research, University of Dhaka, Mohammed Shahidul Islam, education team leader, USAID, and Professor Abdul Bayes, director of BRAC’s research and evaluation division also spoke at the seminar.